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Embellished Ndebele rope

Stitch two layers at once on this easy herringbone necklace

Ndebele herringbone weave works well in a tubular pattern and works up quickly and easily. Here, learn how to easily add surface embellishment as you go. There are several variations explained in this project, although there really is no limit to the number of variations that are possible once you understand the concepts of tubular Ndebele. The gold rope illustrates the basic technique, embellishing on the diagonal; the silver rope sets the embellishment vertically.

In the instructions below, we’ll get you started on the Ndebele rope. To view full project instructions,download the free PDF.


  • 20g Japanese cylinder beads
  • 15g Size 15/0 Japanese seed beads, contrasting color
  • Decorative glass bead
  • Beading needles, #12 or 13
  • Nymo B or Silamide

    For cross-stitch embellishment add:

  • 100-200 3mm Beads: pearls, crystals, stones, or round beads
  • 100-200 2mm Beads or contrast-color 11/0s
Embellished Ndebele rope Figure 1
Figure 1
Embellished Ndebele rope Figure 2
Figure 2

1 To begin the Ndebele rope, use a long thread and string 4 cylinder beads. Go through all 4 beads again in the same direction, leaving a 12-in. (31cm) tail. String 2 more beads and go back down through the previous pair and up the 2 new beads as for a brick-stitch ladder (Figure 1). Continue until your ladder has 8 pairs of beads. (Note: all the necklaces shown at left have 8 two-bead pairs, except the silver one, which has 6.)

2 Join the ladder into a ring by taking the needle up through the first pair of beads and back down the last pair. Come back up the first pair again (Figure 2). The thread tail hangs down.

Embellished Ndebele rope Figure 3
Figure 3
Embellished Ndebele rope Figure 4
Figure 4

3 To work the Ndebele stitch, string 4 beads. Go down the next top bead to the right and come up the next top bead (Figure 3). Repeat this step 3 times. At the end of the row, you will need to come up 3 beads to keep the work even (Figure 4). This is the first Ndebele row. Repeat this step to make a plain Ndebele rope or embellish as described in the free PDF.

To download full project instructions, click here.

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